It strikes me that UK PM Gordon Brown and Irish PM Brian Cowen share at least one characteristic, they have been promoted way above their competency level and both countries are paying for this.
I read that Cowen has been suggesting that negotiations between the Government and the “social partner”s on an economic recovery plan are “going well”.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Brian Cowen described the discussions as ”sincere”. The talks, which continue at Government Buildings in Dublin this afternoon, are focusing on ways to increase taxes and reduce public spending in order to plug the massive deficit in the public finances. No concrete details have been revealed, but a framework document approved by all sides says the burden of any harsh measures must be shared fairly, with those who benefited most from the Celtic Tiger bearing the brunt of the adjustments.
I think Cowen is whistling in the dark here, too little, too late. Ireland is heading for the financial rocks and it seems to me that much more dramatic action needs taken but the “social partners” have far to tight a grip on the government and Irish society in general than to make the most token of sacrifices. They needn’t worry – economic forces will ensure that adjustments are made.